I am feeling slightly accomplished today. With only a few days left in the 2009-2010 school year, I think it's safe to say that I've pretty much survived it. I still have to help my fifth-graders successfully complete their end-of-the-year projects, deal with terrible end-of-the-year behavior, and play in the end-of-the-year teachers vs. 6th graders kickball game (totally got roped into this one and I'm not looking forward to it :-P) but that is nothing compared to all the other stuff I've had to endure this year.
You see, this year was probably the most difficult year of my life. And the year before it wasn't much easier! Last year we got married, moved, Luke switched jobs, and we became landlords. It was a hard year because of all the changes. But this year has been hard because of all the challenges.
First of all, there were my health issues. from September until about February, I kept going through these really sick spells. I still to this day don't know what it was, and my doctor wasn't very helpful. I was losing weight and basically couldn't eat anything. I was having stomach cramps that were so painful I would curl up on the floor and shake and almost pass out (I should mention I have a very low pain tolerance). We were worried for awhile that it was my gallbladder or something. But in the winter when I went off the pill, all of my problems seemed to go away! I have been pretty much pain-free since about February, eating anything and everything that I want. Praise God!
Next, there were the car issues. We bought it in September. In October we found out the entire engine would have to be rebuilt, costing about the same price as the car itself. Our car was in the shop for over 2 months. We got it back just before Christmas. After that, we noticed that there were large amounts of smoke coming out of our car every time it was stopped. Ugh. Apparently the turbo charger went bad after the engine. The car went back to the shop for another month-and-a-half to have the turbo charger rebuilt. It wasn't cheap, either. We got it back in April, I believe, and just last week we had to send it back in because some censor or something went bad (I don't even really know what's specifically wrong this time!) But this is going to be a cheap, easy fix and it should be back in the next few days. But needless to say, this has been stressful. I haven't talked about it a lot, but it has caused so many tears and so much anxiety for me. And Luke too, minus the tears. But praise God that it has all been fixed (well, almost :-P). I can't wait to drive that cute little thing around all summer instead of Luke's big, green, non-feminine truck that I've been driving off and on for about half of the year.
Next started the relationship problems. I don't really want to go into details, but lets just say Luke and I learned a lesson about friendship this year, and who our real friends are. We felt betrayed by some people, I guess, for lack of a better word. But it brought us closer together, and taught us to treasure the genuine people in our lives.
I can't forget about last winter when we got our fun "surprise" at tax time. We ended up owing money. Like, a lot of it. It came out of nowhere, and we had no idea how we were going to pay for it.
And of course, there were some job issues that I'd rather not go into. We all have them from time-to-time, I'm sure. This year was my first year with my own classroom, so this was the first year I had to deal with them all 100% on my own.
On my worst days I would wonder how in the world we were going to pay for our car repairs. And how much longer we would have to borrow a vehicle while our car was in the shop. How could God let this happen to us when we had just gotten completely out of debt a year before? It will probably be forever before we're ready to have kids now that we have so much debt, again! Why was all this bad stuff happening to us? Why are our "friends" being so cliquey? Why does everybody take advantage of me at work? And I was having all of these thoughts and worries while suffering terrible stomach pains every hour or so for weeks on end.
There were definitely lots of pity parties during this past school year. Lots and lots of tears in the shower (my mind is on turbo-speed while I'm in the shower for some reason. If I need to cry, I do it in the shower. Don't ask me why! I also get all of my good ideas in the shower. One of my crazy quirks I guess :-P) I was really struggling with seeing the big picture; seeing past my immediate worries and my pain.
Now that I'm on the other side of it, I can almost laugh at myself. Why was I so worried?! So many people have it so much worse than me. I am so blessed. God carried me through every one of those trials. Our car is being paid for, our taxes are taken care of, after this week we'll have a perfectly running car (knock on wood!), We have realized that we overreacted about the friend situation, and God has also brought lots of new friends into our life. And one of the best things about the year is that I know it has brought Luke and I closer together. I'm sure this is only the tip of the iceberg of trials we will face in our marriage, but I like how it feels having come through that first set. We know how to work together better during stressful times, and I learned that sometimes I just need to shut up and let him lead (I never thought this whole Ephesians 5 submission thing would be so hard!)
And better than anything else, I have become so much closer to my Lord. When I was sick and lying on the bathroom floor, I just remember feeling so close to God. I knew that I needed him so much at that time because everything in my life felt like it was falling apart, and I seriously thought the pain was going to kill me (Did I mention that I have an unbelievably low pain tolerance? :-P). I knew that God would get me through it, and He did. I understand why He lets us go through things like this now. If he never tests our faith, how are we every supposed to build it?
So anyway, all that to say that I have come through the hardest year(s) of my life, and for the moment, everything feels pretty much at peace. I'm so excited about my future, and I'm learning more about my savior, my husband, and myself every single day. You better believe I am going to use this summer as a time of celebration and praise! I am going to let myself feel God's peace wash over me, and I'm going to let go of all of my worries! For three months, I'm going to just rest in His love, and let Him take me wherever He wants to. And I can't wait!
I know that since I just wrote that, I will probably have to suffer some massive attack on my spiritual life :-P It always seems to happen that way, doesn't it? But even if that happens, I know I will be okay. God works all things together for good, so what do I have to worry about?
This was a long post, but I really wanted to reflect on all that has happened in the past school-year. I hope it gives you hope if you are going through a rough time!